The non-toxic, non-staining, reusable modeling compound that came to be known as "Play-Doh" was originally a pliable, putty-like substance concocted by Noah McVicker of Cincinnati-based soap manufacturer Kutol Products; it was devised at the request of Kroger Grocery, which wanted a product that could clean coal residue from wallpaper. Following World War II, with the transition from coal-based home heating to natural gas and the resulting decrease in internal soot, and the introduction of washable vinyl-based wallpaper, the market for wallpaper cleaning putty decreased substantially. McVicker's nephew, Joe McVicker, joined Kutol with the remit to save the company from bankruptcy; he subsequently discovered that the wallpaper cleaner was being used by nursery school children to make Christmas ornaments.
In 1964, Play-Doh was exported to Britain, France, and Italy. In the 1980s, its cardboard can (with a rust-prone metal bottom) was scuttled for a more cost effective plastic container. By 1965, Rainbow Crafts was issued a patent for Play-Doh. Also in 1965, General Mills purchased Rainbow Crafts and all rights to Play-Doh for $3 million, placing the compound with its Kenner Products subsidiary. In 1971, Rainbow Crafts and Kenner Products merged, and, in 1987, the Tonka Corporation bought the two. In 1991, Hasbro became Play-Doh's owner, and continues to manufacture the product today through its preschool division. In 1996, gold and silver were added to Play-Doh's palette to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Play-Doh's current manufacturer, Hasbro, reveals the compound is primarily a mixture of water, salt, and flour, while its 2004 United States patent indicates it is composed of water, a starch-based binder, a retrogradation inhibitor, salt, lubricant, surfactant, preservative, hardener, humectant, fragrance, and color. A petroleum additive gives the compound a smooth feel, and borax prevents mold from developing. Many home-made recipes will include salt, flour or corn starch, a vegetable oil (such as canola or olive oil) and cream of tartar.
"Kinder" is the German word for "children".
Each Kinder Surprise egg consists of a chocolate shell, a plastic container, the contents of said container, and an external foil wrap.
The chocolate shell is shaped like a chicken's egg, and is of similar size. It is only about a millimeter thick, and consists of two layers: a milk chocolate layer on the outside, and a white chocolate layer on the inside. The shell is not a singular piece of material, but rather two identical halves split down a vertical line. These are lightly fused together just before the egg is wrapped, to prevent the halves from coming apart under the light pressures expected during transportation.
During the egg's production, before the halves are fused together, the plastic capsule containing the toy is placed inside. This capsule is made from thin, flexible plastic, and is often yolk-yellow (though in the past it was also manufactured in a variety of colors). The capsule is made of two non-symmetrical, overlapping pieces: its bottom piece is almost as long as the entire capsule, and has two ridges protruding along its outer rim; the top piece is about half as long as the entire capsule, and has two corresponding ridges along its inner rim. When the pieces are pushed together, the ridges interlock and do not come apart without manual manipulation. To separate the two pieces, it is often necessary to apply pressure to the interlocking region at its opposite ends, bending it and causing the ridges to separate inside so that the halves can be pulled apart. Once the capsule is opened it can be re-closed effortlessly by pushing the two pieces back together.
The plastic capsule contains the toy itself (either in a single piece or in several pieces requiring assembly) and at least two pieces of paper. One paper lists the "choking hazard" warnings in multiple languages. The other paper shows assembly instructions for the toy and a picture of the assembled toy (if applicable), and/or an illustration of all toys belonging to the same line as the one contained within this particular capsule. Furthermore, many capsules include a small page of adhesive decals that may be placed on the assembled toy after construction.